Saturday, May 2, 2009

Bless Me Ultima

Post your Journal Entries here.

You Must Include...

* the quote with page number
* your response

You might also consider...
-responding to what others have written
-adding quotations that connect to other quotations
-connecting the passages directly to the globalization project


Austin said...

"My mother was very happy because now she had someone to talk to and she didn't have to wait until Sunday when her women friends from the town came up the dusty path to sit in the sala and visit." (14).

This excerpt caught my eye because it shows how people can become friends so quickly. In "Bless Me Ultima", Ultima, one who cures with herbs and magic, comes to live with Antonio's family. This includes his mother. Antonio's family is mostly men so when the mother finds out that a girl is coming to stay with them, she becomes happy because there will be another woman to talk to. When someone is the only gender in a certain setting, it can often be awkward if there are no same genders around. Even if another person of the same gender shows up, it may still take a while until they feel comfortable and acquainted with that person. Antonio's mother wastes no time in becoming acquainted with Ultima. Once she arrives, she is so thankful that there is another woman around and like the quote said, "she didn't have to wait until Sunday when her women friends from the town came up the dusty path to sit in the sala and visit."

Anonymous said...

Melissa Miller
D Block
Outside Reading Journal #1: Bless Me, Ultima

In Bless Me, Ultima, the book is about a boy named Antonio who tells the reader the story about his life and Ultima. Ultima is an elderly curandera. A curandera is a healer endowed with the spiritual power of her ancestors. Ultima prefers to leave things as the same, by helping out the sick and needy people. Antonio is the main character of the book. He is very frightened to be alone, and it also makes him sad. Antonio also likes to dream. Antonio likes changes. “I did not hear what she said because I was hearing the sounds of the dream, and I was seeing the dream again. The warm cereal in my stomach made me feel sick.” (Pg. 9). Antonio’s father is a vaquero a.k.a. a cowboy. The cowboys like Antonio’s dad like to drink and move around in vagabonds. He also wants Antonio to become a vaquero. Antonio’s dad prefers things to stay the same. Antonio’s mother is a daughter of a farmer. She is catholic Christian, and she wants Antonio to become a priest. She also treats elders like Ultima with respect. “It would be a great honor to provide a home for la Grande,” my mother murmured. My mother called Ultima la Grande out of respect. It meant the woman was old and wise.” (Pg. 4). She likes more things to change, because she is Christian and believes in one God, not like her husband who is polytheistic. Deborah and Theresa are both Antonio’s sisters. Deborah called Ultima a witch, but Theresa didn’t call Ultima a witch. Antonio’s mom said that Deborah was following the Marez way. Jason Chavez is one of Antonio’s friends who disobey his father to go see his Indian friend. “He was quiet and moody, and sometimes for no reason at all wild, loud sounds came exploding from his throat and lungs.” (Pg.10). Jason’s father however forbids Jason from going to see his Indian friend. Jason really wants things to change, but his dad wants no change. The story connects to the globalization project, because the characters live in a very hot climate, which could affect how their food supply is produced.

Camille said...

Journal Entry #1
"Deborah giggling because she had made the right greeting, and i who was to be my mothers hope and joy stood voiceless,"(12).

Response #1:
This excerpt from the novel shows the importance of showing respect to elders. In the Hispanic culture, respect for elders is one of the core values. in the American way of life, respect for elders is not something that is considered that important. I find that this excerpt shows how truly important it is to treat elders with respect. They are their to teach us and listen. Respect for elders needs to be "reinforced" in the American way of life

Journal Entry #2
" 'we don want to make you sad mama'... 'we just want to live our own lives,(72).

Response #2:
This shows how the elders in the village want their children to keep to the same way of life as them. However as society changes the new generations want to explore the new things the world has to offer, instead of having to stay with the "old way of life". The elders prefer things to stay the same, with the younger generation prefers that they get to experience the new way of life.

Journal Entry #3
"' The atomic bomb... a ball of white heat beyond imagination.' 'Man was not made to know so much... they compete with god,'"(190).

Response #3:
This also shows that elders wish for things to stay the same. Also this shows another one of their values which is believing in god and not trying to be more powerful than he is. They want people to have full confidence in god and not try and change the way that things are "meant to be"

Journal Entry #4
" The smallest bit of good can stand against all the powers of evil in the world and it will emerge triumphant,"(98).

Response #4:
This shows the value of happiness and good actions. That these actions no matter how small can make a huge difference. If something is incredibly "evil" usually people lose hope and have no will to want to stay positive and be happy and make good decisions. This shows us that we should all stay positive and that every small act of good can make a huge difference.

Austin said...

Entry 2

"They usually spend the entire day in the attic, playing dolls and giggling. I did not concern myself with those things." (7).

The reason I chose this excerpt was because I actually found it funny. I found it funny because it is just normal and typical. Previously, Antonio says that he doesn't talk much to his sisters at the dinner table because they are so close to each other that they don't communicate with anybody else. He said that they are close because they spend the day in the attic playing with dolls or doing something that they can enjoy doing together. It makes sense that he does not like to concern himself with those things. I don't know guys (and have never heard of a guy) who is significantly older than his sisters that enjoys spending the whole day playing dolls with his sisters. I find this type of speech easy to understand because I can relate it to real life. Not that I would ever play with dolls. I can relate it because not many guys today would like to spend the whole day with their younger sisters. The more realistic the piece of writing is, the better I understand it.

Austin said...

Entry 3

"On the first day of school I awoke with a sick feeling in my stomach. It did not hurt, it just made me feel weak." (51).

I chose this excerpt because I can relate. People who move into a new environment for an extended period of time sometimes get this feeling. When someone moves to a new house, or enter a new school. On the first day of school, everything is new. New clothes, new classroom, and even new students in the class along with a new teacher. I can relate because I often wake up nervous on the first day of school because I don't know who my teachers will be, whether I will like them, or whether I will even like the other students in the class. I also ponder whether I will know anybody in the class. Not whether I will like them, but will I be close to anybody in the class? This excerpt makes sense because it is an average, and normal feeling. This shows that Antonio is just a regular and average kid as well. He is nervous on the first day of school and if there were 100 students (hypothetically) in the world, at least 80 of them would be nervous on the first day of school. It is an average feeling, and I can relate.

Austin said...

Entry 4

"I had been thinking about how Ultima's medicine had cured my uncle." (107).

This excerpt is important because it shows that newcomers can make a difference. I have met a few people who think that new people cannot make a difference. Perfect example was just a few months ago. The Boston Bruins acquired a player named Mark Recchi. Many people thought he was too old to help the Bruins and he was worthless. He proved everybody wrong because he has a special talent inside him that other players don't have. This special talent helped the team to win games by scoring goals other players could not have scored because they didn't have the talent that Mark Recchi had. Even though that was just an example, it goes to show that newcomers can make a difference and they should not be counted out so fast. It also comes as a life lesson to never count someone out because they are new. Ultima was new to Antonio's family and she made a difference by curing Antonio's uncle. Let them show you what they have and then decide whether they are useless or important.

Laura said...

"It was very sad to see my father cry, but I understood it, because sometimes a man has to cry. Even if he is a man." (14-15)

This quotation stood out to me because it shows how the stereotype of being manly and not crying is present in their culture, as well as ours. It also shows how the father's dreams are so important to him- that he takes his sons to California- but it was the war that stopped him from doing so. The father wants a change in his lifestyle- not to change his culture so much as to go back to it- and I think that his want to have his culture be a bigger part of the lives of his children will be a problem that Antonio will have to deal with throughout the book. I also think that this excerpt helps to show the relationship that Antonio has with his father, because he is able to understand the reason why he cries and gets drunk. While many children would not understand this, Antonio does, and because of that I think he is a compassionate and understanding character, and also that he has a relatively close bond with his father.

amaya said...

"Oh, it was hard to grow up. I hoped that in a few years the taking of the holy communion would bring me understanding." (pg. 77)

As a child, Antonio must come to terms with things that most children are either not confronted with or choose to ignore. Antonio is a very reflective person who wants to understand the world the way he thinks adults do. Instead of pushing questions away and thinking he will have time to learn in the future, Antonio thirsts for knowledge. He looks for answers to his questions from Catholiscism, and the native powers of the land represented by Ultima and the Golden Carp. Despite his questioning, Antonio aknowledges that he is only a child and is wary of losing his childhood. He enjoys being a child and shows suspiscion that the innocence and happiness he has known will be corrupted by knowledge, yet he still wishes to know. With the wisdom of a child, Antonio seeks his own answers for the ways of the world. Although he expects to gain understanding through God and the church, he doesn't limit his possibility of education by avoiding other instruction. One of Antonio's biggest influences is his mother, whom he loves dearly. She taught him the faith of the church, which is enforced by what is expected of Anonio's future. While being respectful to the church and his mother's wishes, Antonio is not brainwashed by religion into believing everything that he learns in church and is wiling to look for answers from sources the church would condemn. The fact that Antonio does so, shows great inner strength and thoughtfulness that seems to be missing in many of his friends from school. Antonio wants to grow up so as to understand the world better, but is wary of losing the innocence he is greatful for.

Anonymous said...

Melissa Miller
D Block

Outside Reading Journal Entry #2: Bless Me, Ultima

In Bless Me Ultima, Antonio is continuing to grow up throughout the book. He had begun school and at the end of the year, he is moved up from the first grade to the third grade. Antonio’s mother warns him not to disgrace the family name. “You are to bring honor to your family,” my mother cautioned. “Do nothing that will bring disrespect on our good name.” (Pg. 53). Antonio’s mother wants Antonio to be a scholar. Antonio’s father wants Antonio to be a cowboy. Both of his parents want to stay with their beliefs. When the war (a.k.a World War II) ended, Antonio’s brothers come home. Antonio’s dad became excited that his hope of moving away to California is not lost. After a few day, Antonio’s brothers Leon, Eugene and Andrew plan on going their own separate ways. Although Leon and Eugene left, Andrew was the only brother that decided to stay. Andrew told Antonio why he can’t be a priest or a farmer. “I don’t know, maybe it’s because the war made men out of us too fast, maybe it’s because their dreams were never real to begin with- I guess if anyone is going to fit into their dreams it’s going to have to be you, Tony. Just don’t grow up too fast,” he added.” (Pg. 74). When Antonio’s uncle Lucas is cursed by Tenorio’s three daughters. Tenorio and his three daughters are evil people who worship the devil; Tenorio’s daughters are called brujas or witches. The war hasn’t affected their evil ways; however Tenorio calls Ultima a bruja instead of a curandera. Antonio asks Ultima why his grandfather didn’t tell her about Antonio’s Uncle Lucas sooner. Ultima tells Antonio “The church would not allow your grandfather to let me use my powers. The church was afraid that-” She did not finish, but I knew what she would have said. The priest at El Puerto did not want the people to place much faith of the church to be the villagers’ only guiding light.” (Pg. 97). Ultima likes everything to be the same, but the Christian church doesn’t like her beliefs. Some people call her a bruja, including some of Antonio’s friends. Antonio tells his friends that Ultima is not a witch. Antonio shows that he cares about Ultima, like a friend or grandmother. He is also very curious to other people’s beliefs.

amaya said...

"So again the power of the priest has failed, I thought. Why can't the power of God work against evils..." (pg. 239)

When Antonio begins to realize that the church doesn't prevent or stop evil from befalling innocents, he feels betrayed. So much change has come for him and his fmaily, that he feels that all his faith has deserted him. Antonio has a gentle, caring soul which is deeply hurt by the suffering of others, esspecialy when he has believed his whole life that good people were protected by God. Although he loves Ultima very much, and has respect for the pagan gods such as the Golden Carp, his deepest faith was in Catholiscism until he saw its powerlessness to prevent evil. Religion is a very important thing to Antonio, and finding that his major belief is an empty promise is deeply upseting. The incident with the curse on Tellez's house brings Antonio closer to Ultima's magic and further from Catholicism. This change in faith is a secret one for Antonio, because although his Parents deeply respect Ultima, society and antonio's mother are insistant on Catholiscism. Holding pagan Gods in higher regard than with the Catholic God would be considered unexceptable by most of the people Antonio knows, deepening his confusion as to why people worship a religion that con only condemn and never forgive. Antonio quietly accepts change and keeps his thoughts to himself, because unlike him, his family is less accepting of change. When Antonio's brothers left them, their parents were devastated by what they saw as betrayal. Whenever there is news of change, be it good or bad, there are only two reaction Antonio's parents show. His father drinks, and his mother prays. Antonio reacts differently because he really thinks things through even if they don't make sense to him. He acknowledges change and learns to live with it without being so influenced by religion or alcohol as his parents are.

Laura said...

"'But I am growing...every day I grow older." (41)

Antonio is so young that he has not even started school yet, but already he is worried about what he will have to be when he grows up. It must be so difficult for him to already be faced with the challenge of choosing if he will join his mother or his father's people. At age 16, I don't have to worry about what I am going to be when I grow up yet. Antonio is younger than that, and he is already worried. I think he is very wise and mature because he is able to realize that he is getting older, but not in the sense that most kids do. It is almost as if he does not look forward to being a "grown up" because of this tough choice he will have to face. It is important to him to continue and respect the traditions of both sides of his family, and that is what makes this choice so difficult.

Anonymous said...

Melissa Miller
D Block
Outside Reading Journal Entry #3: Bless Me, Ultima

In Bless Me, Ultima, Antonio is finally back at school again. Antonio is entering the third grade. His friends Ernie, Florence, Bones and Horse all ask him about Antonio’s Brother Andrew whoring with girls at Rosie’s place in town and they talk about Ultima blinding Tenorio in one eye. Antonio’s friend Red tells the other to back off. “Come on you guys!” Red said, “This is Tony’s first year with us! Let’s play ball! Come on, there ain’t no such thing as witches-”. (Page 146). Antonio tells Ernie that Ultima is not a witch, and that she is a good woman. Ernie however disagrees with Antonio, he doesn’t like to change. Tenorio is very upset when one of his daughters died. He accuses Ultima for killing her. “It is I, Tenorio Trementina, who accuses her!” he shouted and jumped forward so that I could plainly see his ugly face.’ (Page 130). Narciso and Antonio’s father Gabriel Marez prove the angry mob of men led by Tenorio that Ultima was not a witch. One of the men put two holy needles on the door with a cross on it and Ultima steps out with proves she is not a witch. Ultima’s owl attacks Tenorio and he loses one eye. Tenorio tells Narciso and Ultima what he will do to them. “Your evil bird has blinded me!” he cried. “For that I curse you! I will see you dead! And you, Narciso, I swear to kill you!” (Page 135). These lines show that he is a malicious and evil man, who does black magic, and he doesn’t like change. He is affected by western change when the Priest of the church would not allow him to bury his daughter on holy ground. Tenorio and his other remaining daughters were forced to bury the body on unholy ground. This also causes Tenorio to kill Ultima, by shooting her owl. Ultima blesses Antonio by saying “I bless you in the name that is good and strong and beautiful, Antonio.” (Page 261). Tenorio is shot by Pedro before he shot Antonio. When Antonio tells his dad he wants to be both a Luna and a Marez. His father replies by explaining that every man takes his past and makes something new with it. Antonio has learned about making choices, friendship, and responsibility, he will never forget the times he had with Ultima.

amaya said...

"Then maybe I do not have to be just Marez, or Luna, perhaps I can be both-- " (pg. 261)

Antonio has grown up being torn between opposing groups. He doesn't know which religion to follow, Catholiscism or the wild native magic. He hopes to find knowledge but doesn't want to grow up. He wants to please his mother and his father. He wants to belong to both sides of his family. Unfortunately, he is constantly pressured to choose. Should he worship nature like the fiery Marez llano ranchers on one side of his family and learn Ultima's magic, or should he learn quiet farming ways and become a priest for the Luna side of the family? While one side represents the moon, the other the sun, they do share similarities which is why Antonio is torn between them. Both sides of the family honor the earth and are deeply spiritual. Being torn between oposing forces is a common worldwide occurence. While many times people are forced to pick sides, others, like Antonio, try to combine the two things that make them who they are. Antonio is both Luna and Marez, just like a newcomer to a country who accepts their new culture while keeping aspects of their past. Antonio doesn't want to have to choose between things he loves, and so resolves to have either both, or none at all.

Laura said...

"When the other children saw my lunch they pointed and laughed again...They showed me their sandwiches which were made of bread. Again I did not feel well." (58)

This was an awful first day of school for Antonio, but it is a good example of how different cultures react to each other. Antonio brought along with him chile and tortillas, a traditional Mexican dish, but all the other kids had sandwiches on bread, which is not traditionally Mexican. This reminded me of a scene in the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding where the main character brought a traditional Greek dish to school with her for lunch and all the other kids had Wonder Bread sandwiches and she felt left out and ashamed. I think situations like this show how particularly cruel kids can be to someone who is not like them, and it also shows the differences between the cultures of the kids in the school. Antonio already felt out of place because he did not speak English and did not know anyone. When the school kids made fun of Antonio's lunch, that made it even harder for him to want to be at school and to feel comfortable there. It also probably made him feel bad about it because it is not easy being different and feeling left out. The kids who spoke English and had the sandwiches felt superior to Antonio, expressing how they also feel that their culture is superior to his.